Michigan’s Upper Thumb offers close-to-home-up-north family fun. With over 100 miles of sandy beaches, hopping port towns and a seemingly endless choice of festivals, fairs and events the tip of the thumb is the natural choice for Southeast Michigan to find a summer day of fun.
Caseville – Michigan’s Thumb’s Party Town
Caseville has been the draw for motor cycle runs since the early 1960s. With its harbor, wide sandy beach and inviting walkable town its natural that Caseville is the focal point for one of the largest festivals in Michigan. Cheeseburger in Caseville, August 12-21 offers ten days of music, art booths, cheeseburger eating and signals the end of the summer season. Dedicated to the idea of Jimmy Buffets favorite meal it’s not unusual to see true Parrot head colors run down the block.
During the day the event is family friendly. During the night it’s powered with music and exotic cocktails.
Caseville Country Ribstock – June 24-26 -Officially summer starts with the summer solstice on June 21st. However the folks in Caseville welcome the in the start of the summer with a huge rib cook-off. The event kicks off at Saturday at Caseville County Park. Live entertainment begins at 7pm Friday. The RibStock Cook-Off winner will be announced between acts
Festival buttons are $5 per person. It will allow entrance to all six country performances as well as other events throughout the weekend.
Pumkinfest and Lighted Parade – September 24-25
Port Austin – The New Artist Colony
At the tip of Michigan’s thumb is a growing art colony. With million dollar views of Lake Huron and a bustling refurbished marina the town is a port of call and an up and coming art community. The season kicks of June 18-19 with the Thumb Artists Studio Tour of the 25 miles of M25 Along the Lake Huron Shoreline between Port Austin to Caseville. Artist have open studios for the weekend. It’s a great way to see the beautiful lakeshore while stopping at studios along the way to view the artistic process and purchase gorgeous works of art. Information can be found at thumbstudiotour.com.
Not to be outdone, nearby Grindstone city has one of the largest public art gallerys in the upper thumb. White Church Gallery is a few minutes away from Port Austin and offers the chance to view and purchase orginal art from local artisans.
Port Austin Events
- Porch Fest – June 25 – Porchfests are annual music events held across the United States and in Canada on front porches. Started in Ithaca, New York in 2007, Port Austins first porchfest events bring local musicians and neighborhoods together to celebrate and create a sense of community
- Art in the Park – September 3-4 – Original artwork for sale. Mediums include watercolor, oil, acrylic, photography, ceramics, wood creations, jewelry, decorative iron work, rustic bird houses, stained and fused glass, gourd art, burnsketching, mixed media, fiber art, soaps, hand carved ice fishing decoys, woodfeathers and wearable art.
Bad Axe – Hometown Charm
Bad Axe is just 108 miles north of Detroit and located in the center of Huron County. A short drive is the shoreline of either Lake Huron or Saginaw Bay. Historical Pioneer Log Cabin Village is a unique settlement of historic buildings that includes a log cabin home, a blacksmith shop, chapel, general store, barn, and a one room school house. This is open Sundays during the summer.
The #1 event for the county is the Huron Community Fair July 31- August 6th. With 4H and FFA exhibits. Daily highlights include Rodeo, Horse Show, Demolition Derby, Lumberjack show, Miracle of Life, Concerts, and Horse Pull. A carnival midway with kid rides, and games.
Pigeon – Winging it this Summer
In 2013 community leaders wanted to freshen up the annual Farmers Festival, an even that had been ongoing for over 40 years. Thus the Summerfest and Wing Fling was born. The event is a great experience for anyone looking for a small town feel with big city fun. It all starts with the Wing Fling Taste Testing in April and then to the festival itself in July 21-24. Inflatable’s for the kids, live music for families, crafter’s for the crafty, food for the hungry and an auto show for everyone! It’s a great time loaded with events like the Wing Fling Eating Championship, down town parade, burnout competition and much more.
Sebewaing – Sweet Tooth Delight
With the Michigan Sugar plant dominating the towns skyline and mounds of sugar beets in the Fall reaching up to three stories high is it any wonder that Sebewaing is one sweet spot to hold a festival.
Since 1965 the Michigan Sugar Festival has took place to show the area’s appreciation to the sugar industry which has purchased sugar beet crops from farmers and processed sugar here with local employees since 1902. This year the event starts June 16-19. Featuring the Sugar Rush Color run, fishing tournament, Kids paint the town (window painting), golf tournament, petting zoo, kiddie tractor pull, bed races, bingo and laser tag.
Bay Port – Fish Sandwich Lovers Unite
As late summer rolls around the days get a bit shorter and the evenings around the campfire can have a bit of chill in the air. It’s also festival season! If you’re in the Upper Thumb the first weekend in August, head to Bay Port. The Bay Port Fish Sandwich Festival is the granddaddy of them all. Since 1978 folks come in and lined up for a fish sandwich that “takes two hands to hold one.” At $4.00 it’s a deal. It’s a family friendly event but its proximity to the historic Bay Port Inn make thoughts of having a “short one” prior to hitting the craft booths not uncommon.
Events start on Friday at noon with sandwiches and a large continuous craft show, the crowning of the festival’s king, queen, prince and princess and fireworks on Friday evening at dusk. The festival’s parade kicks off Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m.